Mayim Achronim – Last Waters

Ken Goldman

About Ken Goldman

Ken Goldman has been mining religious sources as inspiration for creating art with timeless universal themes for over three decades. Subjects of personal and public nature such as faith, gender, community, otherness and mortality are but some of the issues he has engaged in his art.The pursuit of these subjects and the search for the best way to express them has inspired Goldman to experiment with a wide variety of media and techniques. It is not unusual to find the artist working on his performance pieces, creating 3-D prints and video, and seemingly effortlessly returning to more classic techniques of wood-cut, stone carving or drawing a he strives to combine the most fitting technique or media with his subject matter.The artist’s use of irony and humor and what may seem, as an almost irreverent attitude towards religious tradition does not in any way overshadow the underlying serious nature of his work. They often work as foils to highlight the major issues being investigated. Goldman uses this approach to connect immediately with the viewer and open a door inviting the viewer to form a deeper connection with the artist’s work.

About Mayim Achronim – Last Waters

Mayim Achronim-Last watersThe further I delve into the broader meanings and relevance of “Shmita” the more significance I find in this contemporary ritual object I have created.The connection between Shabbat and Shmita has been well documented, placing Shmita and its lessons firmly in all six years leading up to the seventh Shmita year and not just limiting its teachings and practices to the seventh classical year in a way similar to how we prepare throughout the course of the week for the holy seventh day, Shabbat.For many of us during the entire Shmita year in Israel our pace and practice changes, if at times ever so slightly. Similarly, on the Shabbat, our work weekly rhythms change and we have more time for prayer, introspection and gratitude. The opportunity to slow down, heighten our awareness and feel infinitely more grateful for the limited natural resources of which we have been blessed, is the underlying impetus for this new ritual object.“Mayimm Achronim” or “Last Waters” is a tradition where participants at the Shabbat meal ritually wash the tips of their fingers before reciting the grace after meals.My Shmita ritual object proposal consists of a custom silicon ice tray designed to be filled with water by the host, then placed in the freezer, and when frozen, removed from the freezer and the now frozen words “Last Waters” placed on a tray on the Shabbat table. These letters slowly melting throughout the meal are designed to both set a slower pace to our usual Shabbat meals, to draw our diners’ attention to the changes and hopefully heighten our awareness to our responsibility for the safety, preservation and equal distribution of these “last waters” for all the population of this earth and not just for the privileged.